1624 Barkway Road
Schools of Ryde, and Ryde Community Centre
“Schoolhouse in the Pines” Quilt Square
Families arriving in Ryde Township in the 1870s required schooling for their children. In 1874 Ryde had two school sections formed and one school in operation, S.S. # 6 in union with Draper, located at Allen’s Corners. It was in use until 1949.
In the mid-1870s a log schoolhouse was built on the southeast corner of what would soon become officially designated as Barkway. This building was of log construction, and abandoned in favour of a more comfortable and modern structure built in 1902 but remained in use as a woodshed. The new Barkway School held classes for 60 years and was then used as a municipal office, Women’s Institute Hall, and is now a private residence.
In 1875 SS#2 (Housey’s Rapids) was organized and a log school house was built on property owned by Thomas Brooks at the intersection of what is now Walker Rd and Muskoka Rd 6. This was generally called “the Brooks School”. In 1904, a new site was chosen, farther north, and a frame building with separate boys and girls entrances was erected and served until 1962. Often called Sunny Brae School, it still stands today in use as a private residence.
S.S. No. 3 was at Lewisham, where in 1879 a log school building was erected. In 1898 a frame schoolhouse was built to replace the old log structure which had burned. This school was in use until 1949. One other school in east Ryde was S.S. No. 4 at Tryon’s Corners, two and a half miles east of Barkway. This school ceased before 1911, and the building was for a time a family residence until it was destroyed by fire.
In the west of Ryde a log school house SS#5 at Buck Lake was opened in 1880 but the next year the building was burned in the bush fire which swept across much of Muskoka. A log home was used for the school classes until a frame building was put up in 1890. The Buck Lake school closed in June 1961, and the pupils were transported to Barkway or Housey’s Rapids until the new Ryde Central School was opened a year later. The former Buck Lake school is now a private residence.
The school section boards were merged into the Ryde Township School Area Board in 1938, Ryde being among the earliest townships of Muskoka District to make this move.
The community schools provided instruction up to the high school level. In order to complete their education, some students were able to board in town in order to attend Gravenhurst High School. From 1949-1972, Carl Break transported Ryde high school students to and from G.H.S. each day.
In 1962 a new brick school, Ryde Central School was opened and elementary school students from throughout Ryde were bused to the new school located between Barkway and Housey’s Rapids.
In 1969, all local school boards were dissolved and District School Boards were established, putting Ryde under the responsibility of the Muskoka District Board of Education
In 1975, Ryde Central was ‘twinned’ with Muskoka Beechgrove in Gravenhurst. Starting in 1990, Grade 7 and 8 students were bused to Beechgrove. In March 1998, with the amalgamation of the Victoria County, Haliburton County, and Muskoka District Boards of Education, Trillium Lakelands District School Board was formed. Ryde Central School was closed in June of 2000, but lives on as an active community centre offering educational and social events. Come out and be a member!